Discs in the neck and lower back may degenerate, causing chronic back and neck pain. In the United States, 500,000 spinal fusion surgeries and 400,000 lumbar discectomies are performed every year for people who are dealing with chronic back pain due to disc degeneration. Regenerative medicine offers an alternative to surgery, and the innovation provided by stem cell therapies is an exciting new way to help people who are suffering from chronic back and neck pain that are caused by degenerative disc diseases in the neck and back.
Regenerative medicine is a relatively new branch of translational medicine that is focused on helping the body’s own ability to repair itself by regenerating healthy tissue for the restoration of function. Regenerative therapy may involve injecting stem cells into damaged areas in order to help regenerate healthy tissue.
Undifferentiated cells, stem cells hold the potential to be turned into specialized cells that can form a variety of different tissues. Stem cells may be adult stem cells or embryonic stem cells. Since embryonic stem cells come from human fetuses, there are numerous ethical concerns with using them. Instead, adult stem cells are used for regenerative therapies.
Regenerative stem cell therapy involves taking a patient’s stem cells by removing cells from the patient’s bone marrow. After the cells are extracted, it is then centrifuged in order to separate and identify the specific cells that can help to heal the damaged tissue. The cells are then injected into the degenerated disc, which stimulates the regeneration of the disc’s collagen. As the collagen is regenerated in the damaged disc, its function should slowly be restored.
At Miami Stem Cell our signature stem cell procedure is called “Super Marrow” and it is ideal to treat back / spine related problems. For more information, please visit: www.stemcellmia.com
Wenchun Qu, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. He is currently leading multiple clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the treatment of low back pain, including a phase III trial of intradiscal allogeneic bone marrow-derived MSC transplantation and a phase I trial of autologous adipose-derived MSC transplantation in degenerative disk disease (DDD). He has considerable experience in translational MSC research and has an established service line providing office-based stem cell therapy for degenerative spinal conditions.
What are the challenges associated with treatment of low back pain, and what novel therapies are currently available?
Treatment of low back pain is challenging for a variety of reasons. Current therapies may not be effective in every patient, and even in those who experience pain relief, the effectiveness of that treatment modality may diminish. For refractory low back pain, available novel therapies include bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies for symptomatic facet arthritis, degenerative disk disease and sacroiliac pains.
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Aug. 17, 2021 — Actress Selma Blair says she’s now in remission after years of a serious multiple sclerosis flare, according to People.
Blair, 49, was diagnosed with the chronic immune disease in 2018. During a year of intense pain, she had a hard time speaking and couldn’t fully use her left leg. She pursued an “aggressive” course of chemotherapy and had a stem cell transplant to try to restart her immune system, the magazine reported. The process took time, but it worked, she said during a virtual appearance on Monday.
“My prognosis is great. I’m in remission. Stem cell put me in remission,” she said during a discovery+ Television Critics Association panel in support of her upcoming documentary, Introducing Selma Blair, which premieres Oct. 15.
“It took about a year after stem cell for the inflammation and lesions to really go down,” she said. “While I am in remission, there’s still maintenance and treatments and glitches.”
Blair said she’s been doing well for the last few months but wanted to wait to share the news with the public. “I was reluctant to talk about it because I felt this need to be more healed and more fixed,” she said. “I’ve accrued a lifetime of some baggage in the brain that still needs a little sorting out or accepting. That took me a minute to get to that acceptance. It doesn’t look like this for everyone.”
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Platelet rich plasma is known informally as PRP. It is a non-surgical, and non-invasive therapy that encourages natural healing of the body. Platelet-rich therapy helps with many medical issues, such as:
- Tendon injuries
- Hair loss or baldness
- Minimize inflammation
- Pulled or sprained muscles
- Ligament or tendon repair usually after surgery
- Chronic tendon injuries
- Overuse injuries
Platelet rich plasma therapy involves the drawing of a small amount of blood. The platelets are separated from the serum using a centrifuge. This highly concentrated platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the area that is injured. Risk of side effects associated with platelet-rich therapy is very low. This is owing to the fact that the platelets are derived from the patient’s own blood. Stem cell therapy is also incorporated into some platelet rich plasma therapies, particularly for more complicated cases.
Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Neil Segil have identified a natural barrier to the regeneration of the inner ear’s sensory cells, which are lost in hearing and balance disorders. Overcoming this barrier may be a first step in returning inner ear cells to a newborn-like state that’s primed for regeneration, as described in a new study published in Developmental Cell.
“Permanent hearing loss affects more than 60 percent of the population that reaches retirement age,” said Segil, who is a Professor in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “Our study suggests new gene engineering approaches that could be used to channel some of the same regenerative capability present in embryonic inner ear cells.”
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USC Stem Cell scientists explore the latent regenerative potential of the inner ear
A systematic review was performed by searching the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases up to July 2020 to identify human studies that assessed the clinical outcomes of isolated BMAC injection for the treatment of knee OA. The electronic search strategy used was “bone marrow aspirate concentrate knee osteoarthritis.”
Eight studies met the inclusion criteria, including a total of 299 knees with a mean follow-up of 12.9 months (range, 6-30 months). Of all patient-reported outcomes assessed across studies, 34 of 36 (94.4%) demonstrated significant improvement from baseline to latest follow-up (P < .05). Five studies evaluating numerical pain scores (visual analog scale and Numeric Rating Scale) reported significant improvements in pain level at final follow-up (P < .01). However, 3 comparative studies evaluating BMAC in relation to other therapeutic injections failed to demonstrate the clinical superiority of BMAC.
The BMAC injection is effective in improving pain and patient-reported outcomes in patients with knee OA at short- to midterm follow-up. Nevertheless, BMAC has not demonstrated clinical superiority in relation to other biologic therapies commonly used in the treatment of OA, including platelet-rich plasma and microfragmented adipose tissue, or in relation to placebo. The high cost of the BMAC injection in comparison with other biologic and nonoperative treatment modalities may limit its utility despite demonstrable clinical benefit.